[-empyre-] November -empyre- discussion, DURATION: PASSAGE, PERSISTENCE, SURVIVAL

Brian Holmes bhcontinentaldrift at gmail.com
Tue Nov 20 20:11:16 AEDT 2018

This is a beautiful and meaningful reflection, Hans, thank you.

One thing about empires, such as the global neoliberal empire which is now
peaking and passing, is that their vast destructiveness provokes a
spiritual response. Religions are born from such tragedies. And in a less
codified way, feelings of awe before the inner workings of deep time
reverberate from the end of one civilization, to the twilight of another.

We have not invented any messianic religion as of yet, and our tragedy may
go too fast for any such thing to happen. But when I travel outside cities
seeking what can only be found in the land, I constantly encounter the
profound indigenous awareness of what moderns call ecology. I don't think
this is so rare for sensitive people right now. Nor has it been so rare
since the 1960s at the very latest.

One important thing is to turn that encounter into a politics that can
actually do some good. Another thing is to just feel it.

all the best on your journeys, Brian Holmes

On Mon, Nov 19, 2018 at 6:16 PM Hans Baumann <hans at hbaumann.com> wrote:

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Thank you for the introduction Tim. The exchange that has occurred
> over the past several weeks has been exceptionally rewarding to follow
> and I would like to extend this discussion. I am specifically
> interested in the following question raised by Kate Brettkelly:
> "When we celebrate the deep time of earth, do we actively overlook the
> durations and experiences of indigenous peoples?"
> My contribution to the CCA Biennial, "The Crystalline Basement", was -
> in short -  an examination of geothermal energy extraction from a
> humanist perspective. All of the themes that Kate mentions in her post
> - deep time, earth history, universalist frameworks - are embedded in
> the science and practice of geothermal engineering. Regardless of its
> "green" credentials, geothermal energy extraction is guided by
> utilitarian concerns: how much can the system produce, is it
> economically viable, et cetera. Within this paradigm of extraction,
> "deep time" and other geological concerns have the capacity to enact
> the sort of erasure that Kate refers to in the above quote. At
> Standing Rock, Black Mesa and countless other sites, indigeneity has
> come into direct conflict with the desire to exploit the material
> remains of deep time.
> Over the past year, I have led a series of storytelling projects with
> members of the Navajo community. Early in the genesis of this project,
> I was introduced to the Navajo concept (and I am paraphrasing here)
> that narrative, identity and geography are mutualistic concepts. As
> one storyteller - a man named Ron Maldonado - explained it:
> “As people lose their stories, they lose a sense of their own being.
> You can’t tie yourself back to the landscape anymore … In order to
> know who you are, you have to know where you came from … It's a
> different way of seeing the world … and it’s a history that goes back
> to the beginning of time”
> Over the course of working with Ron, I came to understand "deep time"
> as something that grounded him and that acted as a source of his
> identity. Is this the same universalist concept to which Kate refers?
> I would argue that it is not, and I would like to suggest that
> concepts of deep time, earth history and the geological realm are
> inherently benign. Their generative capacity and their potential to
> erase, suppress or silence ultimately reflect the spectrum of our
> relationships to the nonhuman world, whether this is as a source of
> difference or one of connection.
> Best,
> Hans Baumann
> --
> H. Baumann
> 310.980.4165
> www.hbaumann.com
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
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